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Price War On The Waterfront Puts Infrastructure Surcharge Over $100

The price war on the waterfront of Australian ports has reached new heights with a Victorian stevedore at the Port of Melbourne charging the highest terminal infrastructure fee of $121.80 per fully loaded container.

The Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) told customers that come 1 January an ‘infrastructure surcharge’ of $121.80 will be applied to every fully loaded container removed from its Webb Dock terminal

Hiking prices by 43% is the business’ latest cost recovery scheme as it pushes ahead of more senior competitors such as DP World Australia (DPWA) and Patrick Stevedores to become the first stevedore in Australia to charge more than $100 for every full container that enters or leaves a VICT terminal.

In an industry notice to its customers, VICT stated it had increased its entry fee in order to remain committed to delivering world-class service with leading truck turnaround times of under 30 minutes.

‘As the market is changing, there is a shift towards split waterside and landside tariffs,’ said VICT in the notice, calling the fee increase a ‘rebalancing’ that will allow VICT to remain competitive.

As covered by ChannelNews, DPWA announced it would increase the cost of entry to truckers entering the Port Botany terminal to $91 per container.

DPWA also cited cost recovery, telling customers the price increase is in continuation of it’s ‘rebalancing of revenue recovery from waterside to landside’.

The announcement sparked the formation of an alliance between freight industry members to force government restraint on the stevedores.

According to the Financial Review, the fee increases are part of a new landside revenue base for the stevedores.

The price increases have the potential to increase commercial strain on logistics, whereby costs will more than likely be passed onto exporters and importers, and ultimately the customer.

Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) director Paul Zalai has expressed his concern over the price increase, calling on the government to stand up.

‘At a time when traders, logistics providers and the agriculture sector need it most, we need [Victorian freight minister Mellisa Horne] to stand up as a true leader, stating that ‘low margin commodity exporters’ will be the hardest hit by these ‘unfettered and unregulated price increases’ during drought and supply chain pressures.

Though as mentioned before, Christmas shoppers should count their lucky stars that the surcharge won’t be brought in until next year.

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